Therapy, described as an ‘international bestseller’, was written by a leading figure in the German media, Sebastian Fitzek. It was first published in 2006 and appeared in the UK a couple of years later, though I have only just got round to reading it (a sad comment on my TBR pile, but believe me, I have some good books which have been in my possession for a lot longer which I still haven’t tackled – oh dear!)
The set-up is intriguing, and there are aspects of it which almost reminded me of the work of Boileau-Narcejac, or possibly even Cornell Woolrich, although Fitzek’s writing is very different from theirs. Josy, a 12 year old girl, has a mysterious illness and vanishes from her doctor’s surgery. Her father is Viktor Larenz, an eminent psychiatrist, who suffers a mental collapse and withdraws to a remote island in the North Sea.
His life is disturbed by the arrival on the island of a strange woman called Anna Glass, who claims to be a writer and whose characters, apparently, become real. In her last novel she wrote about a girl with a strange ailment who has vanished in circumstances very similar to Josy’s. Viktor reluctantly agrees to act as Anna’s therapist in order to solve this unsettling mystery.
This is a pretty good thriller, albeit rather bleak in tone. I enjoyed it, and there were some excellent twists in the narrative. A weakness, however, was the motivation of the culprit, which did not seem to me to be adequately explained. Nevertheless, a sound example of Eurocrime.